Good cop though he is, Special Detective Marshall Bahr has his ill-wishers in Minneapolis Homicide. Oh, they respect his talent, all right, but when they call Mars Bahr "Candy Man" it's meant to cut, meant to suggest that toadyism as much as talent has made him the chief's favorite. The truth is, Mars works harder, longer, and smarter than most, and closes more cases. So when the high-profile murder of a rich and popular suburban teenager lands in the Bahr bailiwick, plenty of his colleagues hope for a fiasco. And for a while it looks very much as if the cruel and senseless slaying of Mary Pat Fitzgerald is doomed to go unsolved. Mars doesn't have a worthwhile clue. His two leading suspects—both, admittedly, something of a stretch—have ironclad alibis. Soon Mars is taking the case personally, spinning his wheels, tracking down leads he knows are dead ends. And then, suddenly, he has a piece of astounding luck. On a plane coming back from London, Bobby Fitzgerald, the victim's brother, meets a young woman whose sister was murdered too, by exactly the same m.o. A fluke? A random bit of happenstance? Never mind: Embattled Mars will take what he can get. And, son of a gun, this break breaks the case.
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